Taking inspiration from The Guardian's 'Writers' Rooms', Sky Arts' 'The Write Place' and Book Chick City's excellent 'Where Stories Are Made'; My Writing Room is a fabulous fortnightly event, in which some of our favourite authors show us where the writerly magic happens, and tell us a little about their writing life.
My Writing Room by Veronica Henry
I do have a proper office. A room stuffed with desks and shelves and filing cabinets, the walls covered in cork boards and charts, where I keep all my paperwork, my reference library and research cuttings, and piles and piles of magazines. It’s where I do all my ‘housekeeping’ – the VAT returns, the note-taking, my emails – but I couldn’t begin to actually write in there. It’s far too cluttered and distracting. There will always be something to take my mind off the world I am trying to escape to. I don’t want to be surrounded by the tedious and mundane when I’m trying to create.
As I get older I need less and less distraction. I can’t work if there’s anyone else in the house, let alone the room. I can’t have music on. I don’t want anything on the table around me. As everyone knows a writer will do anything not to get on with the job in hand, so all potential displacement activities have to be nipped firmly in the bud!
So during the summer months, this is where I write. Obviously not when it’s raining or blowing a force ten gale – then I retire inside to the dining room table. But I find the view both inspiring and relaxing – it calms me and stimulates me at the same time. And if I get writer’s block, or need a break, I go down to the beach for a walk to clear my head – quite often a knotty plot problem resolves itself by the time I get back.
It’s pretty obvious that this was the inspiration for my latest novel. The beach huts I wrote about are tucked just behind the green hills. In the height of summer, I can hear the shrieks and laughter of people splashing in the waves – strangely, this isn’t a distraction, but a rather soothing background noise.
It’s pretty perfect as places to write go – although the finishing touch would be a Balinese sun umbrella in white and gold, edged with shells and beads, to shield me from the sun while I write.